Introducing Minnie

Well. I did it. I jumped right on to the Instax mini bandwagon.
And oh heavens, I’m so glad I did. Since I’m obsessed with art journaling
right now, I don’t ever use my digital camera, and I got an Amazon gift card
for my birthday, I figured the shopping stars were aligned. I went back and
forth about 20,000 times trying to decide if I actually did want it, or if I just
thought I wanted it because I’d seen so many blog friends writing about their
Instax minis. So when I got the gift card from my mother-in-law and some
birthday cash from my parents, I thought it was now or never.

I don’t have film yet for the mini, which I’m calling Minnie for obvious reasons, because I opted for free shipping and that took a couple days longer. I’m head over heels for this sweet little lady camera.

Here’s a picture from That’s Happy (one of my favorite blogs) that shows what the Instax can do. They’re miniature Polaroid pics. Isn’t it cute?!


Birthday Extravaganza Pics Part 1

FINALLY! The birthday pictures that like… 3 of you have been waiting for! (I have 4 blog posts written that are waiting for pictures to be scanned and/or uploaded before they’re ready to be posted. So… sorry ’bout that. The good news is, now I can check one off the list!)

Part of my birthday party was a “photobooth” with a rainbow streamer backdrop and a little suitcase full of cardboard props. Here are some of my favorites from that day.

Straw Heart Update

So today is a big day for a family I met through Straw Heart Project. When I first met them several months ago, they were in the process of adopting, but had no idea who they would be matched with. They heard from Peru a couple months later that the whole thing would probably take another couple of years (added to the years they’d already put in) and they were, understandably, discouraged. Just a few weeks later, they heard the news that their son, Isaiah Arturo, was matched to them and it wouldn’t be long until they could come meet him in Peru.

Today is the day they meet Isaiah.

Praise God! After much waiting and discouragement over the past few years, they’re finally going to hold their son. I can’t begin to imagine how powerful those first few moments will be. It brings up so many emotions for me, and I’m honestly quite far removed from the whole thing. I cannot wait to meet Isaiah Arturo!

Check their story out on their blog. You can see a picture of Isaiah, the room they’ve prepared for him, and the whole Burns family.

We’re so excited for you, Burns family! Praying with you and standing beside you in this incredible journey!

Birthday Stress

So today is my 25th birthday. I have had a strange mix of
“best year ever” and “hardest year ever” as a 24 year old.
I think that makes sense biblically, but emotionally it’s hard to understand.
But for the few very hard parts of 24 sprinkled in, it really has been an incredibly
wonderful and fulfilling year. I’m excited to see what 25 has to offer.

This evening I’m going to dinner with a few friends and Mr.
Hagen, and here’s the thing: I’m way stressed about choosing my birthday dinner every year. The fact that this stresses me out says a lot about me, I think. Here’s why:

1. I don’t like making decisions for other people. What if the
restaurant I pick is too expensive? Or too far of a drive? Or the food isn’t
wonderful? That’s all my fault. People will judge me for the terrible decisions
I make and stop being my friend. Right? And it will ruin my whole birthday. And
possibly even my whole 25th year of life.

2. There are 364 days every year (with at least two meals a day)
that don’t count as My Very Special Birthday Dinner. That’s a lot of pressure
on June 22nd’s dinner. Poor little guy. How is he expected to bear the weight
of an entire year? It’s one meal, and it has to be the very best meal ever.

3. Not only does the restaurant have to be the best choice, it
has to be somewhat rare. A birthday treat, if you will. I really do love La
Terraza, but I go there all the time. My birthday has to be set apart.

4. This may seem like a strange thing for someone who has a blog, which is basically a website where each day I say, “LOOK AT ME! LISTEN TO THIS STORY I WANT TO TELL YOU! ME ME ME!” But I really don’t enjoy being the center of attention. I mean, I like attention – I like my friends to listen when I’m talking to them, I like someone to write me a sweet note just because they were thinking about me. But I DO NOT want 20 people looking at me and expecting things from me. Like being asked to open gifts in front of a large group. Or people singing Happy Birthday to me. Restaurants like to do that, you know? I get incredibly uncomfortable. And my birthday dinner has that potential.

5. I’m super selfish on my birthday. You will hear me say in the
days surrounding my birthday, “but it’s my birthday!” or some version of
this, about 70,000 times. Dave doesn’t want to clean the entire house by himself while I take a nap, “BUT IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” I want to eat an entire family size bag of Reese’s Pieces because “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” I’m selfish to the point of undergoing all of this birthday dinner stress JUST SO I CAN PICK MY OWN DINNER. BECAUSE IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. It’s a weird inner dialogue in here, friends.

So happy birthday, self. Make the right choice.

I Wish

A few times a year I get the itch to go live in an old farmhouse in the woods. You may recall this or this. Apparently that happens in June every year.

Well it’s June again and I’m dreaming of unplugging. Quitting my job, packing up the car, and sitting on a row boat in the middle of the pond is sounding pretty nice right now. I happen to know just the house.

I’d really like to take naps in this front yard.

And sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning on this couch.

And write stories about whoknowswhat sitting at this sweet little desk.

How can I make this happen? I’m open for suggestions.

Birthday Party Sneak Peek

I’d been building up to the party so very much. Too much, probably.. Sunday as I was still hanging photobooth decorations up when people were getting to the house, I was nervous that I had talked up the party too much and that it’d be a let down.

While I can’t speak for everyone who came, I can say confidently that this was one of the best birthday parties I’ve ever had. There will be more pictures and a video in the next few days, but here’s a sneak peek of the end of the party.

Two quick notes: First of all, I’d like to mention that I appreciate all of you SO MUCH for the kind comments and emails I got regarding last Friday’s post. I think there’s a great deal to be said on the subject of self-image that I can’t put into words, but I am so very thankful that you’re listening to the little bit I say. You sure make me feel loved.

And the second note is this – the holi color aspect of my birthday party (as photographed above) was inspired by a super fantastic blog, Oh Happy Day. And guess what! Oh Happy Day is giving away a trip for two to Paris. Today’s the last day to enter. So get on over there and enter!

If I Weren’t a Lady

That title may be misleading. What I mean by “If I weren’t
a lady” is that being a human can really limit my personal style. If I
weren’t a lady, I could be a farmers market or a logo, or a floral arrangement
in a shiny glass jar.

I’ve had a bit of trouble feeling like I could claim my own
personal style for… well, ever. As a kid, I wore over the top outfits, always
extremely feminine. Ruffles, bows, dots, stripes, matching hair bows, socks,
shiny shoes. I still am very drawn to that actually. (Funny note: I wrote that
description before I looked at this picture of little me. I have ALL of those
things in this one photo.)

(Funny note number two: I realized after saying I
was still drawn to that style that the shirt I’m wearing has dots, bows, and
ruffles. So… yeah.)

Then from about sixth grade to my senior year of high school, I got
super awkward and noticed my own body (didn’t we all.) I started trying less to
look like a girl and decided to only wear lazy-punkrock-kid clothes. Old
t-shirts, ill fitting jeans, and converse sneakers. Good luck finding a picture
of me from 1998-2004 wearing anything different. (Prom excluded) It was in those
few years that I started to really become uncomfortable with the way I looked.
I developed unhealthy relationships with people, food, and my emotions.

My college years were mostly made of hoodies and the same jeans
that didn’t fit well. Occasionally, pajama pants were thrown in there for a
little wardrobe variety. What seemed to be a girl who didn’t care much about clothes,
style, and fashion was actually a girl with severe self-image problems. At my
strongest point of self-hate, I would skip class – disgusted by the fact that
the public would see me “looking like this,” I would sob in dressing rooms, I destroyed
clothes out of anger because I had outgrown them, and I had a brief experimental
period with self-mutilation. I was spiraling out of control. I hated the way I
looked. Absolutely hated it. It was an all-consuming hate.

Thanks to Dave, a lot of prayer, and growing up, I have recovered from the pit of self-hate. I still have days where I don’t love my
body, but I’m actually ok with the way I look now. I’m comfortable in my own
skin. My body isn’t perfect, but my husband sure likes it. I don’t have a tan,
but I’m not going to wear jeans in August because I’m ashamed of that. I’m not
a size 4, but why should I need to be? Or even want to be?

I can wake up in the morning and be proud of myself and the way
I look. That’s kind of a big deal, no? I don’t need to only wear what will make
me look thinner. I don’t need to wear black because someone said it was
slimming. I can wear whatever I want to wear, because I like it.

So I’m done not really knowing how to dress myself. I saw the picture below and decided to base my personal style around it. How? Well, lots of ways, but that’s not what this post is about.

(from Once Wed and Armas Designs via That’s Happy)

Art is something that evokes an emotion, in my opinion. Good or
bad. When I first saw this picture I decided that it WAS me. I AM this picture.
Everything about me that I have just expressed to you, my friends, came out
because of the way I felt when I looked at this picture. It’s a brush cup, a
painting, and a bunch of flowers. And it’s the best art I’ve seen in a long
time. It made me realize how far I’ve come.